Boeing signs US composites tooling deal

Boeing has signed a $53m deal with Aerospace Composites & Transparencies, the California-based division of Britain’s Hampson Industries.

Aerospace Composites, which also has plants in Texas and Michigan, builds tooling for composites work. Although Hampson would not directly confirm the contract is with Boeing, a spokesperson acknowledged that several aerospace analyst reports that it is are not wrong.

The contract is believed likely connected with Boeing’s plan to expand its US-based production on the 787-9 and future airplane programs.

And speaking of advanced materials, this story discusses a variety of them. It is from the magazine Metal Miner.

4 Comments on “Boeing signs US composites tooling deal

  1. Regarding the Metal Miner article; the trouble with the composites vs metals argument is that it totally ignores what could be termed the third way: fibre/metal laminates (FMLs) such as the GLARE used in the A380.

    These combine most of the advantages of the two other classes of materials while eliminating most of their disadvantages. The only reason composites are “winning” at the moment is down to marketing-led business decisions and internal politicking by composites fan-clubs. I hear FML solutions have been shown to be better than metals or composites solutions for some recent programmes but that this data has mysteriously been removed from the record.

    • I forgot to say that FMLs easily surpass their constituent composites and metals in some cases. Impact and fire resistance being two examples that come straight to mind.

      • Any hints towards further reading up on the topic?

        The “taste” of recent designs is still very much metal construction. More so with Boeings Dreamliner ( behind the one piece skin is an abundance of frames, brackets, fasteners, shims, … , only the stringers are cocured and it looks as if the manufacturing process has a hard limit there towards going any further.)

  2. Uwe :
    Any hints towards further reading up on the topic?

    Plenty of stuff coming out of Delft University of Technology (where it was invented). See also Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glare_(material)

    I also found a copy of a very informative history of FMLs on Google:

    http://books.google.fr/books?id=nxX1FS4TxTkC&lpg=PP1&ots=KZfBAu1q_d&dq=glare%20history%20of%20the%20development%20of%20a%20new%20aircraft%20material&hl=en&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The “taste” of recent designs is still very much metal construction. More so with Boeings Dreamliner ( behind the one piece skin is an abundance of frames, brackets, fasteners, shims, … , only the stringers are cocured and it looks as if the manufacturing process has a hard limit there towards going any further.)

    FML-based structures can be manufactured using traditional methods (sheets can be formed, drilled, cut…) or using composite-style tailored lay-up for double-curved surfaces, thickness variations, co-curing etc. or a combination of both manufacturing methods (e.g. curved sheets could be created with an internal doubler structure at the frame locations can then be cut to size and holes drilled for the fastening of said frames).

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